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<html>
<HEAD>

<TITLE>A.1 What is anarchism? </TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<H1>A.1 What is anarchism?</H1>
<p>
Anarchism is a political theory which aims to create anarchy, <i>"the
absence of a master, of a sovereign."</i> [P-J Proudhon, <b>What is Property
</b>, p. 264] In other words, anarchism is a political theory which aims
to create a society within which individuals freely co-operate together 
as equals. As such anarchism opposes all forms of hierarchical control
- be that control by the state or a capitalist - as harmful to the 
individual and their individuality as well as unnecessary.
<p>
In the words of anarchist L. Susan Brown:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State
movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a
simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that
power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate
more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and
economic organisation."</i> [<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 106]
</blockquote><p>
However, "anarchism" and "anarchy" are undoubtedly the most misrepresented 
ideas in political theory. Generally, the words are used to mean "chaos" or
"without order," and so, by implication, anarchists desire social chaos
and a return to the "laws of the jungle."
<p>
This process of misrepresentation is not without historical parallel. For
example, in countries which have considered government by one person
(monarchy) necessary, the words "republic" or "democracy" have been used
precisely like "anarchy," to imply disorder and confusion. Those with a
vested interest in preserving the status quo will obviously wish to imply
that opposition to the current system cannot work in practice, and that a
new form of society will only lead to chaos. Or, as Errico Malatesta
expresses it: 
<p><blockquote>
<I>"since it was thought that government was necessary and that without 
government there could only be disorder and confusion, it was 
natural and logical that anarchy, which means absence of government,
should sound like absence of order."</I> [<B>Anarchy</B>, p. 12].
</blockquote><p>
Anarchists want to change this "common-sense" idea of "anarchy," so people
will see that government and other hierarchical social relationships are
both harmful <B>and</B> unnecessary:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"Change opinion, convince the public that government is not only 
unnecessary, but extremely harmful, and then the word anarchy, just because 
it means absence of government, will come to mean for everybody: natural 
order, unity of human needs and the interests of all, complete freedom 
within complete solidarity."</I> [<B>Ibid.</B>, pp. 12-13].
</blockquote><P>
This FAQ is part of the process of changing the commonly-held ideas regarding 
anarchism and the meaning of anarchy.
<p>
<a name="seca11"><H2>A.1.1 What does "anarchy" mean?</H2>
<p>
The word <i><b>"anarchy"</i></b> is from the Greek, prefix <b>an</b> 
(or <b>a</b>), meaning 
<i>"not," "the want of," "the absence of,"</i> or <i>"the lack of"</i>, plus <b>archos</b>, 
meaning <i>"a ruler," "director", "chief," "person in charge,"</i> or <i>"authority."</i> 
Or, as Peter Kropotkin put it, Anarchy comes from the Greek words meaning
<i>"contrary to authority."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 284]
<p>
While the Greek words <b><i>anarchos</b></i> and <b><i>anarchia</b></i> 
are often taken to
mean <i>"having no government"</i> or <i>"being without a government,"</i> as can be 
seen, the strict, original meaning of anarchism was not simply <i>"no 
government."</i> <i><b>"An-archy"</i></b> means <i>"without a ruler,"</i> 
or more generally, 
<i>"without authority,"</i> and it is in this sense that anarchists have 
continually used the word. For example, we find Kropotkin arguing
that anarchism <i>"attacks not only capital, but also the main sources
of the power of capitalism: law, authority, and the State."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>,
p. 150] For anarchists, anarchy means <i>"not necessarily absence of 
order, as is generally supposed, but an absence of rule."</i> [Benjamin 
Tucker, <b>Instead of a Book</b>, p. 13] Hence David Weick's excellent 
summary:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Anarchism can be understood as the <b>generic</b> social and political
idea that expresses negation of <b>all</b> power, sovereignty, domination,
and hierarchical division, and a will to their dissolution. . . 
Anarchism is therefore more than anti-statism . . . [even if] 
government (the state) . . . is, appropriately, the central focus 
of anarchist critique."</i> [<b>Reinventing Anarchy</b>, p. 139]
<p></blockquote>
For this reason, rather than being purely anti-government or anti-state, 
anarchism is primarily a movement against <i><b>hierarchy.</i></b> Why? Because 
hierarchy is the organisational structure that embodies authority. Since 
the state is the "highest" form of hierarchy, anarchists are, by definition, 
anti-state; but this is <b>not</b> a sufficient definition of anarchism. This 
means that real anarchists are opposed to all forms of hierarchical 
organisation, not only the state. In the words of Brian Morris:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The term anarchy comes from the Greek, and essentially means 'no
ruler.' Anarchists are people who reject all forms of government
or coercive authority, all forms of hierarchy and domination. 
They are therefore opposed to what the Mexican anarchist Flores
Magon called the 'sombre trinity' -- state, capital and the
church. Anarchists are thus opposed to both capitalism and to
the state, as well as to all forms of religious authority. But
anarchists also seek to establish or bring about by varying means,
a condition of anarchy, that is, a decentralised society without
coercive institutions, a society organised through a federation
of voluntary associations."</i> [<i>"Anthropology and Anarchism,"</i> 
<b>Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed</b>, no. 45, p. 38]
<p></blockquote>
Reference to "hierarchy" in this context is a fairly recent development -- 
the "classical" anarchists such as Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin did use  
the word, but rarely (they usually preferred "authority," which was used as 
short-hand for "authoritarian"). However, it's clear from their writings  
that theirs was a philosophy against hierarchy, against any inequality of  
power or privileges between individuals. Bakunin spoke of this when he attacked  
<i>"official"</i> authority but defended <i>"natural influence,"</i> and also when he said: 
<p> <blockquote>
<i>"Do you want to make it impossible for anyone to oppress his fellow-man?  
Then make sure that no one shall possess power."</i> [<b>The Political Philosophy  
of Bakunin</b>, p. 271]  
<p> </blockquote>
As Jeff Draughn notes, <i>"while it has always been a latent part of the 
'revolutionary project,' only recently has this broader concept of  
anti-hierarchy arisen for more specific scrutiny. Nonetheless, the root 
of this is plainly visible in the Greek roots of the word 'anarchy.'"</i>  
[<b>Between Anarchism and Libertarianism: Defining a New Movement</b>] 
<p> 
We stress that this opposition to hierarchy is, for anarchists, not  
limited to just the state or government. It includes all authoritarian  
economic and social relationships as well as political ones, particularly  
those associated with capitalist property and wage labour. This can be 
seen from Proudhon's argument that <i>"<b>Capital</b> . . . in the political field 
is analogous to <b>government</b> . . . The economic idea of capitalism . . .  
[and] the politics of government or of authority . . . [are] identical . . .  
[and] linked in various ways. . . What capital does to labour . . . the  
State [does] to liberty . . ."</i> [quoted by Max Nettlau, <b>A Short History  
of Anarchism</b>, pp. 43-44] Thus we find Emma Goldman opposing capitalism
as it involved people selling their labour and so ensuring that <i>"the 
worker's inclination and judgement are subordinated to the will of a
master."</i> [<b>Red Emma Speaks</b>, p. 36] Forty years earlier Bakunin made
the same point when he argued that under the current system <i>"the worker 
sells his person and his liberty for a given time"</i> to the capitalist 
in exchange for a wage [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 187].
<p>
Thus "anarchy" means more than just "no government," it means opposition 
to all forms of authoritarian organisation and hierarchy. In Kropotkin's 
words, <i>"the origin of the anarchist inception of society . . . [lies in] 
the criticism . . . of the hierarchical organisations and the authoritarian 
conceptions of  society; and . . . the analysis of the tendencies that are 
seen in the progressive movements of mankind."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary 
Pamphlets</b>, p. 158] Thus any attempt to assert that anarchy is purely
anti-state is a misrepresentation of the word and the way it has been 
used by the anarchist movement. As Brian Morris argues, <i>"when one 
examines the writings of classical anarchists. . . as well as the 
character of anarchist movements. . . it is clearly evident that it 
has never had this limited vision [of just being against the state]. It 
has always challenged all forms of authority and exploitation, and has 
been equally critical of capitalism and religion as it has been of the 
state."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 40]
<p>
And, just to state the obvious, anarchy does not mean chaos nor do anarchists 
seek to create chaos or disorder. Instead, we wish to create a society  
based upon individual freedom and voluntary co-operation. In other words, 
order from the bottom up, not disorder imposed from the top down by  
authorities. 
<p>
<a name="seca12"><H2>A.1.2 What does "anarchism" mean?</H2>
<p>
To quote Peter Kropotkin, Anarchism is <I>"the no-government system of socialism."</I> [<B>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</B>, p. 46]. 
In other words, <i>"the abolition of exploitation and oppression of man by 
man, that is the abolition of private property [i.e. capitalism] and 
government."</i> [Errico Malatesta, <i>"Towards Anarchism,"</i> in <b>Man!</b>, 
M. Graham (Ed), p. 75]
<p>
Anarchism, therefore, is a political theory that aims to create a society 
which is without political, economic or social hierarchies. Anarchists 
maintain that anarchy, the absence of rulers, is a viable form of social 
system and so work for the maximisation of individual liberty and social 
equality. They see the goals of liberty and equality as mutually 
self-supporting. Or, in Bakunin's famous dictum:
<p><blockquote>
"<I>We are convinced that freedom without Socialism is privilege and 
injustice, and that Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality."</I> 
[<b>The Political Philosophy of Bakunin</b>, p. 269]
</blockquote><p>
The history of human society proves this point. Liberty without equality
is only liberty for the powerful, and equality without liberty is
impossible and a justification for slavery. 
<p>
While there are many different types of anarchism (from individualist 
anarchism to communist-anarchism -- see section 
<a href="secA3.html">A.3</a> for more details),
there has always been two common positions at the core of all of them -- 
opposition to government and opposition to capitalism. In the words of 
the individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker, anarchism insists on <i>"the 
abolition of the State and the abolition of usury; on no more government 
of man by man, and no more exploitation of man by man."</i> [cited in 
<b>Native American Anarchism - A Study of Left-Wing American Individualism</b> 
by Eunice Schuster, p. 140] All anarchists view profit, interest and rent 
as <b>usury</b> (i.e. as exploitation) and so oppose them and the conditions 
that create them just as much as they oppose government and the State.
<p>
More generally, in the words of L. Susan Brown, the <i>"unifying link"</i> within 
anarchism <i>"is a universal condemnation of hierarchy and domination 
and a willingness to fight for the freedom of the human individual."</i> [<b>The
Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 108] For anarchists, a person cannot be
free if they are subject to state or capitalist authority.
<p>
So Anarchism is a political theory which advocates the creation of
anarchy, a society based on the maxim of <I>"no rulers."</I> To achieve this,
<I>"[i]n common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is 
condemned to disappear: and that all requisites for production must, and 
will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by 
the producers of wealth. And. . . they maintain that the ideal of the 
political organisation of society is a condition of things where the 
functions of government are reduced to minimum. . . [and] that the 
ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government to
nil -- that is, to a society without government, to an-archy"</I> [Peter
Kropotkin, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 46]
<p>
Thus anarchism is both positive and negative. It analyses and critiques
current society while at the same time offering a vision of a potential
new society -- a society that fulfils certain human needs which the
current one denies. These needs, at their most basic, are liberty,
equality and solidarity, which will be discussed in <a HREF = secA2.html> section A.2</a>.
<p>
Anarchism unites critical analysis with hope, for, as Bakunin pointed out,
<I>"the urge to destroy is a creative urge."</I> One cannot build a better
society without understanding what is wrong with the present one. 
<p>
<a name="seca13"><H2><B>A.1.3 Why is anarchism also called libertarian socialism?</B></H2>
<p>
Many anarchists, seeing the negative nature of the definition of
<I>"anarchism,"</I> have used other terms to emphasise the inherently positive
and constructive aspect of their ideas. The most common terms used are
<I>"free socialism," "free communism," "libertarian socialism,"</I> and
<I>"libertarian communism."</I> For anarchists, libertarian socialism,
libertarian communism, and anarchism are virtually interchangeable. 
<p>
Considering definitions from the <B>American Heritage Dictionary</B>, we find:
<p><blockquote>
<B>LIBERTARIAN:</B> <i>one who believes in freedom of action and thought; one who
believes in free will.</i>
<p>
<B>SOCIALISM:</B> <i>a social system in which the producers possess both political
power and the means of producing and distributing goods.</i>
<p></blockquote>
Just taking those two first definitions and fusing them yields:
<p><blockquote>
<B>LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM:</B> <i>a social system which believes in freedom of action and thought and free will, in which the producers possess both political
power and the means of producing and distributing goods.</i>
</blockquote><p>
(Although we must add that our usual comments on the lack of political
sophistication of dictionaries still holds. We only use these definitions
to show that "libertarian" does not imply "free market" capitalism nor
"socialism" state ownership. Other dictionaries, obviously, will have
different definitions -- particularly for socialism. Those wanting to
debate dictionary definitions are free to pursue this unending and
politically useless hobby but we will not).
<p>
However, due to the creation of the Libertarian Party in the USA, many 
people now consider the idea of <I>"libertarian socialism"</I> to be a
contradiction in terms. Indeed, many "Libertarians" think anarchists are
just attempting to associate the "anti-libertarian" ideas of "socialism"
(as Libertarians conceive it) with Libertarian ideology in order to make
those "socialist" ideas more "acceptable" -- in other words, trying to
steal the "libertarian" label from its rightful possessors. 
<p>
Nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists have been using the term
"libertarian" to describe themselves and their ideas since the 1850's. The 
revolutionary anarchist Joseph Dejacque published <b>Le Libertaire, Journal 
du Mouvement social</b> in New York between 1858 and 1861 [Max Nettlau, <b>A 
Short History of Anarchism</b>, p. 75]. According to anarchist historian Max 
Nettlau, the use of the term <i>"libertarian communism"</i> dates from November,
1880 when a French anarchist congress adopted it [<b>Ibid.</b>, p. 145]. The use
of the term "Libertarian" by anarchists became more popular from the 1890s
onward after it was used in France in an attempt to get round anti-anarchist 
laws and to avoid the negative associations of the word "anarchy" in the 
popular mind (Sebastien Faure and Louise Michel published the paper 
<b>Le Libertaire</b>  -- <b>The Libertarian</b> -- in France in 1895, for example). 
Since then, particularly outside America, it has <b>always</b> been associated 
with anarchist ideas and movements.  Taking a more recent example, in the USA, anarchists organised <i><b>"The Libertarian League"</i></b> in July 1954, which 
had staunch anarcho-syndicalist principles and lasted until 1965.  The US-based 
"Libertarian" Party, on the other hand has only existed since the early 
1970's, well over 100 years after anarchists first used the term to describe 
their political ideas (and 90 years after the expression "libertarian 
communism" was first adopted). It is that party, not the anarchists, who have 
"stolen" the word. Later, in <A HREF= "secBcon.html">Section B</A>, we will discuss why the idea of a "libertarian" capitalism (as desired by the Libertarian Party) is a contradiction in terms. 
<p>
As we will also explain in <A HREF= "secIcon.html">Section I</A>, only a libertarian-socialist system of ownership can maximise individual freedom. Needless to say, state ownership -- what is commonly <B>called</B> 
"socialism" -- is, for anarchists, not socialism at all. In fact, as we 
will elaborate in <A HREF= "secHcon.html"> Section H</A>, state "socialism" 
is just a form of capitalism, with no socialist content whatever.
<p>
<a name="seca14"><h2>A.1.4 Are anarchists socialists?</h2></a>
<p>
Yes. All branches of anarchism are opposed to capitalism. This is because
capitalism is based upon oppression and exploitation (see sections 
<a href="secBcon.html">B</a> and <a href="secCcon.html">C</a>). 
Anarchists reject the <i>"notion that men cannot work together unless they 
have a driving-master to take a percentage of their product"</i> and think
that in an anarchist society <i>"the real workmen will make their own 
regulations, decide when and where and how things shall be done."</i> By
so doing workers would free themselves <i>"from the terrible bondage of
capitalism."</i> [Voltairine de Cleyre, <i>"Anarchism,"</i> pp. 30-34, 
<b>Man!</b>, 
M. Graham (Ed), p. 32, p. 34]
<p>
(We must stress here that anarchists are opposed to <b>all</b> economic forms 
which are based on domination and exploitation, including feudalism, 
Soviet-style "socialism" and so on. We just concentrate on capitalism
because that is what is dominating the world just now).
<p>
Individualists like Benjamin Tucker along with social anarchists like 
Proudhon and Bakunin proclaimed themselves <i><b>"socialists."</i></b> 
They did so 
because, as Kropotkin put it in his classic essay <i>"Modern Science and 
Anarchism,"</i> <i>"[s]o long as Socialism was understood in its wide, generic, 
and true sense -- as an effort to <b>abolish</b> the exploitation of Labour by 
Capital -- the Anarchists were marching hand-in-hands with the Socialists 
of that time."</i> [<b>Evolution and Environment</b>, p. 81] Or, in Tucker's words, 
<i>"the bottom claim of Socialism [is] that labour should be put in possession 
of its own,"</i> a claim that both <i>"the two schools of Socialistic 
thought . . . State Socialism and Anarchism"</i> agreed upon. [<b>The 
Anarchist Reader</b>, 
p. 144] Hence the word <i>"socialist"</i> was originally defined to include 
<i>"all those who believed in the individual's right to possess what he 
or she produced."</i> [Lance Klafta, <i>"Ayn Rand and the Perversion of 
Libertarianism,"</i> in <b>Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed</b>, no. 34] 
This opposition to exploitation (or usury) is shared by all true 
anarchists and places them under the socialist banner.
<p>
For most socialists, <i>"the only guarantee not to be robbed of the fruits
of your labour is to possess the instruments of labour."</i> [Peter Kropotkin,
<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 145] For this reason Proudhon, for example,
supported workers' co-operatives, where <i>"every individual employed in the
association . . . has an undivided share in the property of the company"</i>
because by <i>"participation in losses and gains . . . the collective force
[i.e. surplus] ceases to be a source of profits for a small number of 
managers: it becomes the property of all workers."</i> [<b>The General Idea
of the Revolution</b>, p. 222 and p. 223] Thus, in addition to desiring the 
end of exploitation of labour by capital, true socialists also desire a 
society within which the producers own and control the means of production. 
The means by which the producers will do this is a moot point in anarchist
and other socialist circles, but the desire remains a common one. Anarchists
favour direct workers' control and either ownership by workers' associations
or by the commune (see <a href="secA3.html">section A.3</a> on the different types of anarchists). 
<p>
Moreover, anarchists also reject capitalism for being authoritarian <b>as
well as</b> exploitative. Under capitalism, workers do not govern themselves 
during the production process nor have control over the product of their 
labour. Such a situation is hardly based on equal freedom for all, nor 
can it be non-exploitative, and is so opposed by anarchists. This 
perspective can best be found in the work of Proudhon's (who inspired 
both Tucker and Bakunin) where he argues that anarchism would see 
<i>"[c]apitalistic and proprietary exploitation stopped everywhere 
[and] the wage system abolished"</i> for <i>"either the workman. . . will 
be simply the employee of the proprietor-capitalist-promoter; or he 
will participate . . . In the first case the workman is subordinated, 
exploited: his permanent condition is one of obedience. . . In the 
second case he resumes his dignity as a man and citizen. . . he forms 
part of the producing organisation, of which he was before but the 
slave . . . we need not hesitate, for we have no choice. . . it is 
necessary to form an ASSOCIATION among workers . . . because without 
that, they would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and 
there would ensue two. . . castes of masters and wage-workers, which 
is repugnant to a free and democratic society."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 233 and pp. 215-216]
<p>
Therefore <b>all</b> anarchists are anti-capitalist (<i>"If labour owned the wealth
it produced, there would be no capitalism"</i> [Alexander Berkman, <b>What is
Communist Anarchism?</b>, p. 37]). Benjamin Tucker, for example -- the 
anarchist most influenced by liberalism (as we will discuss later) -- 
called his ideas <i>"Anarchistic-Socialism"</i> and denounced capitalism as 
a system based upon <i>"the usurer, the receiver of interest, 
rent and profit."</i> Tucker held that in an anarchist, non-capitalist, 
free-market society, capitalists will become redundant and exploitation
of labour by capital would cease, since <i>"labour. . . will. . . secure its natural wage, its entire product."</i> 
[<b>The Individualist Anarchists</b>, p. 82 and p. 85]
 Such an economy will be based on mutual banking 
and the free exchange of products between co-operatives, artisans and 
peasants. For Tucker, and other Individualist anarchists, capitalism is not
a true free market, being marked by various laws and monopolies which 
ensure that capitalists have the advantage over working people, so ensuring
the latters exploitation via profit, interest and rent 
(see <a href="secGcon.html">section G</a> for a fuller 
discussion). Even Max Stirner, the arch-egoist, had nothing but scorn for 
capitalist society and its various "spooks," which for him meant ideas 
that are treated as sacred or religious, such as private property, competition, 
division of labour, and so forth.
<p>
So anarchists consider themselves as socialists, but socialists of a specific 
kind -- <b><i>libertarian socialists</i></b>. As the individualist anarchist Joseph A. 
Labadie puts it (echoing both Tucker and Bakunin):
<p><blockquote><i>
"[i]t is said that Anarchism is not socialism. This is a mistake.
Anarchism is voluntary Socialism. There are two kinds of Socialism,
archistic and anarchistic, authoritarian and libertarian, state and free.
Indeed, every proposition for social betterment is either to increase or
decrease the powers of external wills and forces over the individual. As
they increase they are archistic; as they decrease they are anarchistic."</i>
[<b>Anarchism: What It Is and What It Is Not</b>]
</blockquote><p>
Labadie stated on many occasions that <i>"all anarchists are socialists, 
but not all socialists are anarchists."</i> Therefore, Daniel Guerin's 
comment that  <i>"Anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The 
anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the 
exploitation of man by man"</i> is echoed throughout the history 
of the anarchist movement, be it the social or individualist wings
[<b>Anarchism</b>, p. 12]. Indeed, the Haymarket Martyr Adolph Fischer 
used almost exactly the same words as Labadie to express the same
fact -- <i>"every anarchist is a socialist, but every socialist is not 
necessarily an anarchist"</i> -- while acknowledging that the movement
was <i>"divided into two factions; the communistic anarchists and the
Proudhon or middle-class anarchists."</i> [<b>The Autobiographies of the
Haymarket Martyrs</b>, p. 81]
<p>
So while social and individualist anarchists do disagree on many issues --
for example, whether a true, that is non-capitalist, free market would be 
the best means of maximising liberty -- they agree that capitalism is to 
be opposed as exploitative and oppressive and that an anarchist society 
must, by definition, be based on associated, not wage, labour.  Only 
associated labour will <i>"decrease the powers of external wills and 
forces over the individual"</i> during working hours and such 
self-management of work by those who do it is the core ideal of 
real socialism. This perspective can be seen when Joseph Labadie 
argued that the trade union was <i>"the exemplification of gaining freedom 
by association"</i> and that <i>"[w]ithout his union, the workman is much more 
the slave of his employer than he is with it."</i> [<b>Different Phases
of the Labour Question</b>] 
<p>
However, the meanings of words change over time. Today "socialism" 
almost always refers to <b>state</b> socialism, a system that all anarchists 
have opposed as a denial of freedom and genuine socialist ideals. 
All anarchists would agree with Noam Chomsky's statement on 
this issue: 
<p><blockquote><i>
"If the left is understood to include 'Bolshevism,' then I would flatly 
dissociate myself from the left. Lenin was one of the greatest
enemies of socialism."</i> [<i>"Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for 
the Future"</i>, <b>Red and Black Revolution</b>, no. 2]
</blockquote><p>
Anarchism developed in constant opposition to the ideas of Marxism, social
democracy and Leninism. Long before Lenin rose to power, Mikhail Bakunin
warned the followers of Marx against the <i>"Red bureaucracy"</i> that would
institute <i>"the worst of all despotic governments"</i> if Marx's state-socialist 
ideas were ever implemented. Indeed, the works of Stirner, Proudhon and 
especially Bakunin all predict the horror of state Socialism with great
accuracy. In addition, the anarchists were among the first and most vocal
critics and opposition to the Bolshevik regime in Russia.
<p>
Nevertheless, being socialists, anarchists do share <b>some</b> ideas with 
<b>some</b> Marxists (though none with Leninists). Both Bakunin and Tucker 
accepted Marx's analysis and critique of capitalism as well as his 
labour theory of value (see <a href="secCcon.html">section C</a>). Marx 
himself was heavily 
influenced by Max Stirner's book <b>The Ego and Its Own</b>, which contains 
a brilliant critique of what Marx called "vulgar" communism as well as 
state socialism. There have also been elements of the Marxist movement 
holding views very similar to social anarchism (particularly the 
anarcho-syndicalist branch of social anarchism) -- for example, 
Anton Pannekoek, Rosa Luxembourg, Paul Mattick and others, who are 
very far from Lenin. Karl Korsch and others wrote sympathetically of 
the anarchist revolution in Spain. There are many continuities from 
Marx to Lenin, but there are also continuities from Marx to more 
libertarian Marxists, who were harshly critical of Lenin and
Bolshevism and whose ideas approximate anarchism's desire for the 
free association of equals.
<p>
Therefore anarchism is basically a form of socialism, one that stands 
in direct opposition to what is usually defined as "socialism" (i.e. 
state ownership and control). Instead of "central planning," which 
many people associate with the word "socialism," anarchists advocate 
free association and co-operation between individuals, workplaces and 
communities and so oppose "state" socialism as a form of state capitalism 
in which <i>"[e]very man [and woman] will be a wage-receiver, and the
State the only wage payer."</i> [Benjamin Tucker, <b>The Individualist
Anarchists</b>, p. 81] Thus anarchist's reject Marxism (what most
people think of as "socialism") as just <i>"[t]he idea of the State 
as Capitalist . . . which the Social-Democratic fraction of the 
great Socialist Party is now trying to reduce Socialism."</i> [Peter
Kropotkin, <b>The Great French Revolution</b>, p. 31] The anarchist 
objection to the identification of Marxism, "central planning" 
and State Socialism/Capitalism with socialism will be discussed 
in <a href="secHcon.html">section H</a>. 
<p>
It is because of these differences with state socialists, and to reduce confuse, 
most anarchists just call themselves "anarchists," as it is taken for granted 
that anarchists are socialists. However, with the rise of the so-called "libertarian" 
right in the USA, some pro-capitalists have taken to calling themselves 
"anarchists" and that is why we have laboured the point somewhat here. 
Historically, and logically, anarchism implies anti-capitalism, i.e. socialism, 
which is something, we stress, that all anarchists have agreed upon (for a fuller
discuss of why "anarcho"-capitalism is not anarchist see <a href="secFcon.html">
section F</a>).
<p>
<a name="seca15"><H2>A.1.5 Where does anarchism come from?</H2>
<p>
Where does anarchism come from? We can do no better than quote the
<B>The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists</B> produced
by participants of the Makhnovist movement in the Russian Revolution (see 
<A HREF = "secA5.html#seca54">Section A.5.4</A>). They point out that:
<p><blockquote>
<I>"The class struggle created by the enslavement of workers and their aspirations to liberty gave birth, in the oppression, to the idea of anarchism: 
the idea of the total negation of a social system based on the principles of classes and the State, and its replacement by a free non-statist society of 
workers under self-management.
<p>
"So anarchism does not derive from the abstract reflections of an intellectual or a philosopher, but from the direct struggle of workers against capitalism, from the needs and necessities of the workers, from their aspirations to liberty and equality, aspirations which become particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggle of the working masses.
<p>
"The outstanding anarchist thinkers, Bakunin, Kropotkin and others, did not invent the idea of anarchism, but, having discovered it in the masses, simply helped by the strength of their thought and knowledge to specify and spread 
it."</I> [pp. 15-16]
</blockquote><p>
Like the anarchist movement in general, the Makhnovists were a mass movement 
of working class people resisting the forces of authority, both Red (Communist) 
and White (Tsarist/Capitalist) in the Ukraine from 1917 to 1921. As Peter
Marshall notes <i>"anarchism . . . has traditionally found its chief supporters 
amongst workers and peasants."</i> [<b>Demanding the Impossible</b>, p. 652]
<p>
Anarchism was created in, and by, the struggle of the oppressed for 
freedom. For Kropotkin, for example, <i>"Anarchism . . . originated in 
everyday struggles"</i> and <i>"the Anarchist movement was renewed each 
time it received an impression from some great practical lesson: 
it derived its origin from the teachings of life itself"</i> (see also
<a href="secJ5.html">section J.5</a>). 
[<b>Evolution and Environment</b>, p. 58 and p. 57] For 
Proudhon, <i>"the proof"</i> of his mutualist ideas lay in the <i>"current 
practice, revolutionary practice"</i> of <i>"those labour associations . . . 
which have spontaneously . . . been formed in Paris and Lyon . . . 
[show that the] organisation of credit and organisation of labour 
amount to one and the same."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 1, 
pp. 59-60] Indeed, as one historian argues, there was <i>"close 
similarity between the associational ideal of Proudhon . . . and 
the program of the Lyon Mutualists"</i> and that there was <i>"a remarkable 
convergence [between the ideas], and it is likely that Proudhon was 
able to articulate his positive program more coherently because of 
the example of the silk workers of Lyon. The socialist ideal that 
he championed was already being realised, to a certain extent, by 
such workers."</i> [K. Steven Vincent, <b>Piere-Joseph Proudhon and the 
Rise of French Republican Socialism</b>, p. 164]
<p>
Thus anarchism comes from the fight for liberty and our desires to lead 
a fully human  life, one in which we have time to live, to love and to 
play. It was not created by a few people divorced from life, in ivory 
towers looking down upon society and making judgements upon it based 
on their notions of what is right and wrong. Rather, it was a product
of working class struggle and resistance to authority, oppression and
exploitation. As Albert Meltzer put it, <i>"[t]here were never theoreticians
of Anarchism as such, [a] writer comes along and writes down what has
already been worked out in practice by workers and peasants; he/she is
attributed by bourgeois historians as being a leaders, and by successive
bourgeois historians as being a leader, and by successive bourgeois
writers (citing the bourgeois historians) as being one more case that
proves the working class relies on the bourgeois leaders."</i> [<b>Anarchism:
Arguments for and against</b>, pp. 10-12] In Kropotkin's eyes, all 
anarchist writers did was to <i>"work out a general expression of 
[anarchism's] principles, and the theoretical and scientific basis 
of its teachings"</i> derived from the experiences of working class people 
in struggle as well as analysing the evolutionary tendencies of society 
in general. [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 57]
<p>
However, anarchistic tendencies and organisations in society have existed 
long before Proudhon put pen to paper in 1840 and declared himself an
anarchist. While anarchism, as a specific political theory, was born with 
the rise of capitalism (Anarchism <i>"emerged at the end of the eighteenth
century . . .[and] took up the dual challenge of overthrowing both
Capital and the State."</i> [Peter Marshall, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 4]) anarchist
writers have analysed history for libertarian tendencies. Kropotkin
argued, for example, that <i>"from all times there have been Anarchists
and Statists."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 16] In <b>Mutual Aid</b> (and elsewhere) 
Kropotkin analysed the libertarian aspects of previous societies
and noted those that successfully implemented (to some degree) 
anarchist organisation or aspects of anarchism. This was particularly 
the case with indigenous peoples, for example most Native American
tribes organised themselves in a very anarchistic manner. 
<p>
Kropotkin recognised this tendency of actual examples of anarchistic 
ideas to predate the creation of the "official" anarchist movement 
and argued that:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"From the remotest, stone-age antiquity, men [and women] have realised
the evils that resulted from letting some of them acquire personal
authority. . . Consequently they developed in the primitive clan,
the village community, the medieval guild . . . and finally in the
free medieval city, such institutions as enabled them to resist
the encroachments upon their life and fortunes both of those strangers
who conquered them, and those clansmen of their own who endeavoured
to establish their personal authority."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary
Pamphlets</b>, pp. 158-9]
</blockquote><p>
Kropotkin placed the struggle of working class people (from which modern
anarchism sprung) on par with these older forms of popular organisation.
He argued that <i>"the labour combinations. . . were an outcome of the same
popular resistance to the growing power of the few -- the capitalists
in this case"</i> as were the clan, the village community and so on, as
were <i>"the strikingly independent, freely federated activity of the 
'Sections' of Paris and all great cities and many small 'Communes'
during the French Revolution"</i> in 1793. [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 159]
<p>
Thus, while anarchism as a political theory is an expression of working
class struggle and self-activity against capitalism and the modern state, 
the ideas of anarchism have continually expressed themselves in action 
throughout human existence. Most indigenous peoples in North America and 
elsewhere, for example, practised anarchism for thousands of years before 
anarchism as a specific political theory existed. Similarly, anarchistic 
tendencies and organisations have existed in every major revolution -- 
the New England Town Meetings during the American Revolution, the Parisian 
'Sections' during the French Revolution, the workers' councils and factory 
committees during the Russian Revolution to name just a few examples (see 
Murray Bookchin's <b>The Third Revolution</b> for details). This is to be expected 
if anarchism is, as we argue, a product of resistance to authority then 
any society with authorities will provoke resistance to them and generate 
anarchistic tendencies (and, of course, any societies without authorities 
cannot help but being anarchistic).
<p>
In other words, anarchism is an expression of the struggle against oppression  
and exploitation, a generalisation of working people's experiences and  
analyses of what is wrong with the current system and an expression of our  
hopes and dreams for a better future. This struggle existed before it was
called anarchism, but the historic anarchist movement (i.e. groups of people
calling their ideas anarchism and aiming for an anarchist society) is
essentially a product of working class struggle against capitalism and
the state, against oppression and exploitation, and <b>for</b> a free society
of free and equal individuals. 
<p>
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